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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents William Kentridge's "The Refusal of Time"
William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time , 2012; jointly owned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift and the K. Hart Smith Trust); © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved; photo: courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Making its West Coast debut at SFMOMA, artist William Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time (2012) is an immersive installation combining synchronized video projections featuring live action, animation and dance, with audio feeds that incorporate music and sound and a central kinetic sculpture called “the elephant,” which breathes a steady rhythm from the center of the gallery. Jointly owned by SFMOMA and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the work evokes an embodied history of time while simultaneously expanding our ideas about how we mark its passage.

“With this complex and masterful immersive installation we found the perfect match for our longstanding commitment to the artist, which includes significant holdings in the Fisher Collection,” said Rudolf Frieling, exhibition curator and curator of media arts at SFMOMA. “The Refusal of Time embodies the sum of Kentridge’s work, casting a wide net of references from old Europe to the rebellious African South. It synthesizes his strikingly beautiful and hybrid aesthetic with not only a sense of political urgency, but also infectious exuberance.”

Commissioned originally for dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany, The Refusal of Time continues where Five Themes, SFMOMA’s major survey of Kentridge overseen by Frieling, left off in 2009. Growing out of conversations between the artist and Harvard University physicist Peter Galison and collaborations with composer Philip Miller and video editor Catherine Meyburgh, it encompasses the artist’s diverse range of artistic practices and visual motifs including drawing, film, sculpture and performance. In the installation, viewers will find energetic combinations of allusions—to Greenwich Mean Time, Einstein’s theory of relativity, the burgeoning Industrial Age of the late 19th century, South African theater— illuminating a world that is constantly revolving and breaking apart, and always profoundly alive.

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and attended the University of the Witwatersrand and the Johannesburg Art Foundation, and studied mime and theater at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris. He is widely renowned for his animations, drawings, prints, books, tapestries and sculptures addressing life both during and after apartheid.

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